As everyone knows, the Disasters Emergency Committee is made up of the following extremist organisations:
Action Aid, British Red Cross, CAFOD, CARE International UK, Christian Aid, Concern Worldwide, Help the Aged, Islamic Relief, Merlin, Oxfam, Save the Children, Tearfund, and World Vision
Give these people a few minutes air-time to talk about the humanitarian situation in Gaza and they’ll be ranting and raving about Zionist imperialism, waving rocket-launchers in the air, and calling on us to send money to Hamas. So, it’s understandable that the BBC would want to avoid giving air time to such lunacy?
No, obviously this is ridiculous.
The DEC hasn’t been turned down in the past, even when aid was difficult to administer, even when the politics were iffy – the BBC aired their appeal for the public to donate towards providing aid to people in need of assistance. So it’s good to hear that there’s uproar about the BBC’s failure to give a few minutes to inform people of how they can help people in need.
ITV, Channel 4, and Five have all agreed to broadcast the appeal, after initially following the BBC’s lead. (As yet, Sky is unconfirmed – presumably waiting to see if the BBC holds the line.)
Tim Llewellyn, former Middle East correspondent for the BBC, sees the corporation’s decision as a betrayal of public service values:
Caroline Thomson, […] said that one reason was that “the BBC’s impartiality was in danger of being damaged”. Could the BBC be sure, she added, that money raised for this cause would find its way to the right people?
How is the BBC’s impartiality to be prejudiced by asking others to raise money for the victims of an act of war by a recognised state, an ally of Britain, using the most lethal armaments it can against a defenceless population? What sly little trigger went off in her head when Thomson questioned whether the aid would reach the right people? What right people? Hamas, the elected representatives of the Palestinian people? The hospitals and clinics run by private charities and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency? The mosques? The citizens of Gaza, persecuted beyond measure not only by their Israeli enemies but by the western powers who arm and sustain Israel and defy the democratic vote of the Palestinian people?
Is Thomson more fussed about some imaginary “war on terror” that even the new White House is shying away from than she is about upholding the free speech and freedom of action of the corporation?
The big question that remains is this: what are the suits scared of? Why do BBC managers try to second-guess our government and even outreach it in grovelling to the United States and Israel?
BBC journalists, extant and retired, not the “usual suspects”, not disaffected radicals and high-octane lefties, are incandescent with rage over this extraordinary piece of institutional cowardice.
Should we be all that surprised? The Director General bravely met with Ariel Sharon for “peace talks” (no, really) in 2005.
Here’s Tony Benn, making an appeal at the Beeb: